Lewis Hamilton’s future with Mercedes seems promising as he appears to be on track to sign a two-year contract extension with the team.
During the Hungarian Grand Prix, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff revealed that while the official signature is still pending, the contract negotiations have reached an “emotional” conclusion.
Hamilton’s former teammate Nico Rosberg expressed his curiosity, asking, “Can someone tell me what it means when a contract is emotionally done?” He also wondered why Hamilton is taking so much time for the decision.
After an 18-month dry spell, the seven-time world champion showcased his brilliance by returning to pole position in Hungary last Saturday, earning admiration from Rosberg. “I’ve seen these magical moments up close for years, and his lap in qualifying was one of those moments,” Rosberg said, emphasizing that it went beyond mere driving and resembled a work of art.
However, Hamilton’s subsequent performance during the race faced criticism from former F1 driver and pundit Marc Surer, who described finishing fourth from pole position as “almost an art” in itself.
Hamilton himself acknowledged that he hasn’t been “in top form” for “more than a year,” except for his outstanding performance in Hungary’s qualifying.
“We’re still a long way from beating Red Bull in the race, and it seems like we’re behind the McLarens too,” Hamilton admitted.
On that point, Wolff had a differing view, noting that the only positive aspect of the day was George Russell’s driving. He also highlighted that the team would need to analyze everything else as they might have lost the chance for a podium finish, or even two.
Wolff added, “The strategy was good. We had the second fastest car – only Max Verstappen was faster,” emphasizing that they didn’t fully exploit the potential they had.
British Sky television commentator Martin Brundle drew a symbolic analogy when he witnessed Lando Norris overtaking Hamilton in Hungary, stating that it was like “the handing over of the baton” among British drivers in F1.
Norris himself defended McLaren’s car performance, stating, “I know Lewis complains a lot about how amazing our car is and how bad theirs is, but they don’t have a bad car. And they haven’t had a bad car all season.”
“Yesterday, Lewis complained about how tough it is finishing outside first position. Try racing in 19th and 20th! He’s never done that in his life,” Norris quipped, pointing out the challenges Hamilton hasn’t encountered in his F1 career.
Hamilton recently expressed that he no longer cares about finishing positions in 2023 and urged the team to follow a direction similar to Red Bull’s, focusing on generating more downforce on the car’s floor.
Adding to the intrigue, Sky Deutschland’s young reporter Phoenix claimed that Wolff whispered during the Hungarian Grand Prix about Hamilton extending his contract for two more years, securing his presence until 2025.
According to Bild newspaper, it’s already apparent that Hamilton will continue to drive for Mercedes next year; the official agreement only awaits formal sealing.